I don’t know about you, but it frightens me that 2010 is almost at an end. It’s like I’m stuck in one of those horrible dreams where I suddenly realise I have a very important exam to sit in the next half hour and I haven’t studied and I just know I’m going to fail.
And in this case, I’m haunted by the suspicion that I’m meant to have done something this year, but I can’t for the life work out what it is and time is running out.
It’s freaking me out, especially when I know that somewhere out there, someone is getting ready to put up the Christmas decorations on Orchard Road.
So, here’s the other thing – why is the Christmas build-up in Singapore so freaking long? While the rest of the world is still working its way through Thanksgiving and Guy Fawkes and assorted pagan worship, the streets of Singapore are festooned with fairy lights, fake snow, plastic reindeer and Christmas trees. In November. For those of us already traumatised by the rapidly depleting year, this is not comforting.
I remember I started 2010 with such high hopes and expectations. I was going to make an effort to brush up my French. It’s telling that the only phrase I’ve learnt all year is “Je m’en fou!” which, in polite conversation, roughly translates to “I don’t give a crap!”
I was going to go to the gym more often, and I’ve been only once.
Leave it to Saffy to see the brighter side of laziness. “Well, seeing as in 2009 you went to the gym zero times, going once in 2010 is essentially a 100% improvement! So, well done!” Her bosom, already straining beneath a tight tee-shirt that read “My eyes aren’t down here!”, heaved with approval.
“But I don’t think I’ve done anything of importance all year!” I said. “I said I wanted to do more charity work and I haven’t. I was going to call my mother more often and I haven’t!”
“Well, who can blame you considering that she’s basically disinherited you and your siblings!” Saffy exclaimed. “I wouldn’t talk to my mother either, not that she has any money to disinherit me from in the first place.”
“But don’t you feel that the year has just slipped by too quickly? It’s like I’ve been sleepwalking since January and suddenly I wake up and it’s Christmas!”
My Auntie Wai-ling says it gets worse as you get older. “One day, you’re going to wake up and find you’re drooling in a wheelchair like your Auntie Ching-ling! And then you’ll really wonder what the hell happened!”
She invited me to lunch and told me all about her recent horror mah-jong session. “One minute, Ching was winning like mad, then she dropped one of the tiles, bent down to get it back, and because she’d been sitting at the table for five straight hours, all the blood suddenly rushed to her head and she collapsed with a stroke. Aiyoh, such bad luck, I tell you!” Auntie Wai-ling crooned in horror. “When we were young, where got scared of such things? I think I’m going to sign up for yo-gah classes. I can’t touch my toes to save my life, but I need to start doing something!”
Amanda says she wishes she’d saved her money instead of buying another Birkin bag. “If I had bought Aussie dollars, I’d be sitting on a tidy profit now! I’m so stupid!”
So, I’ve started to write down my resolutions for 2011, but even before the ink is dry, the list already reeks of doom and failure. Because many of the resolutions look very familiar. Every year, I promise myself to go to more museums. To be nicer to people. To spend more time with my aging parents. To read more books and go to less boozy parties.
Then I look at my beloved adopted mongrel dog Pooch who spends his days flat on his back, all four furry paws stuck up in the air, dreaming sweet doggy dreams of his poodle girlfriend and chasing our neighbour Mrs Kumarasamy’s evil black Persian. His days revolve around hanging out with me, having a good old hearty poo a few times a day and a nice dinner. It’s all so simple. He wouldn’t know a new year’s resolution if he peed on it. And yet, he’s content and happy.
“Are you seriously going to base your life on that dog?” Amanda asked. “He licks his own balls!”
Saffy says if she could ever lick her own balls, it would definitely count as a very good year.